Empire’s Done In 60 Seconds Competition 2009

Empire Jameson logoEmpire magazine are running their Done in 60 Seconds competition again this year.

This involves them challenging budding film makers to put together a 1 minute video of their interpretation of a film.

The entries are submitted and the winner gets an Empire Award presented to them at the Empire Awards aswell as having their 60 second video played at the ceremony.

Here is a compilation of last years entries:

The rules remain basically the same: your movie must be a 60 second remake of a feature film and not involve any copyright infringement, ie music, product placement or nudity.

The only other stipulation they have this year, as 2009 marks Empire’s 20th year, is that the film you choose was made during Empire’s lifetime (ie, since 1989).

Here are a list of do’s and don’ts


  • Remake a movie of your choice from 1989 onwards (no originality required)
  • Use your friends and family (make sure your cast have agreed to perform)
  • As many as you want (it’s your time)
  • Feel free to ‘adapt’ the film to fit the format (you don’t have to be completely faithful)


  • Go over one minute in length, you’ll be disqualified
  • Slander anyone (Empire have an aversion to court cases)
  • Do pornography, we are trying to run a decent magazine here
  • Use any footage that is not your own (no ‘mashing’ allowed)

To enter just visit the Awards section at the Empire site:


UK Release Date for In The Loop

In the Loop

A UK release date has been announced for In the Loop, the political satire which played to considerable acclaim at Sundance recently.

It will open the Glasgow Film Festival on February 12th and will be released nationwide by Optimum Releasing on Friday 17th  April.

Directed by Armando Iannucci, it is a loose spinoff of the TV series The Thick of It and stars Tom HollanderJames GandolfiniChris AddisonPeter CapaldiGina McKee and Steve Coogan.

Here is the official press release:

Optimum Releasing presents IN THE LOOP, a devastatingly sharp political comedy from the reigning king of satire, writer and director Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, The Day Today, Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge).

Following its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, IN THE LOOP will open the Glasgow Film Festival on February 12th 2009 and will be opening in cinemas across the United Kingdom on April 17th 2009.

IN THE LOOP is a foul-mouthed comedy that draws on non-specific events to create a world that is terrifyingly familiar: The US President and UK Prime Minister fancy a war, but not everyone agrees that war is a ‘good thing’. US General Miller (James Gandolfini) certainly doesn’t think so and neither does the British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander).

But when the mild-mannered minister inadvertently appears to back the war on prime-time television, he immediately attracts the attention of the PM’s venomously aggressive communications chief Malcolm Tucker (reprised from The Thick of It by Peter Capaldi), who latches onto him like a hawk. Soon, the Brits are in Washington, where diplomatic relations collide with trans-Atlantic spin doctors and Foster’s off-hand remark quickly spirals into an insurmountable ‘mountain of conflict’.

Foster quickly becomes the oblivious plaything of the US and British government, on the one side by Malcolm Tucker, on the other by paranoid US Assistant Secretary for Diplomacy Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy) and her ambitious intern Liza Weld (Anna Chlumsky). The loyal British delegation at Foster’s side consists largely of his new aide Toby (comedian Chris Addison), whose inept attempts to preserve his job are matched only by his hapless bid to sleep with US intern Liza.

Meanwhile, the minister’s efficient and thoroughly skeptical Director of Communications Judy (Gina McKee) has been left behind in London to deal with the breaking story of an angry constituent and his collapsing garden wall (Steve Coogan). It soon becomes clear that the light at the end of Simon Foster’s tunnel is likely to be an oncoming ballistic missile.

Armando Iannucci reunites the award-winning writing team behind The Thick of It, bringing together collaborative writers Jesse Armstrong and Simon Blackwell (The Old Guys, The Thick of It, Peep Show), Tony Roche (The Thick of It, Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression), producers Adam Tandy (The Thick of It, I’m Alan Partridge, The Armando Iannucci Shows) and Kevin Loader (History Boys, Brideshead Revisited).

IN THE LOOP is shot in a pseudo-documentary style, incorporating Iannucci’s infamous improvisational techniques, creating an unforgiving, lightning-fast comedy peppered with razor-sharp expletives, which gives a frighteningly uncomfortable sense of how things really might be.

This is a Sundance Channel report on the premiere:

> In the Loop at the IMDb
> The Guardian and The Times report on the reaction at Sundance

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 30th January 2009

UK Cinema Releases 30-01-09


Revolutionary Road (Paramount): Adapted from the acclaimed 1961 novel by Richard Yates, this stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as a young married couple who yearn to break free of their stifling lives in surburban Connecticut. Directed by Sam Mendes from a script by Justin Haythe, it was widely expected to garner critical acclaim and Oscar nominations. 

It hasn’t quite worked out that way because the film, despite having numerous qualities, doesn’t quite add up to more than the sum of its parts. Winslet is excellent as the frustrated housewife yearning for a deeper existence, but DiCaprio feels a little adrift in a more unsympathetic role as her husband. In the supporting cast Michael Shannon and Kathy Bates are interesting but occasionally come across as too one note in how they comment on the central characters, almost as if they are a 1950s-style Greek chorus.

One can’t help avoiding comparisons to Mad Men, a TV series that covers the same period with a richness and originality that a film like this can’t really match. Despite the problems, there is much technical brilliance here to feast on: Roger Deakins continues to dazzle with some marvellous cinematography, whilst regular Mendes colloborator Thomas Newman delivers another affecting score that complements the action superbly (watch out for the dance sequence).

The overall effect of the film is a rather downbeat, a factor which may have reduced its Oscar chances and could limit its box office here in the UK. Although on paper, two big stars in a prestige picture would seem likely to do well, word of mouth might affect its long term theatrical gross when certain audiences (i.e. couples) realise how close to the bone the film cuts in its depiction of an unhappy marriage. [Cert 15 / Odeon Leicester Square & Nationwide]

Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Sony Pictures): I’m very reluctant to call this film, based upon the novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, a romantic comedy because that genre has been polluted by mindless garbage appealing to female audiences who should know better. However, it would be an accurate depiction of this charming tale of two people (Michael Cera and Kat Dennings) who fall in love over the course of one night in New York.

In some ways you could call it a genuine romantic comedy because it is both romantic and funny, but it is also smarter than the average movie of this type. The two lead characters are nicely drawn and there is a standout supporting performancefrom Ari Graynor as one of Norah’s best friends. I’m surprised it didn’t do better in the US when it opened there back in October, but perhaps Sony couldn’t find the right marketing hook for it. The impressive soundtrack and feelgood vibe might ensure more success for the film as people discover it on DVD.  [Cert 12A / London & Nationwide]



Barry Lyndon (PG): The BFI give a limited re-issue for Stanley Kubrick‘s masterful 1975 adaptation of  William Makepeace Thackeray‘s novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon about the adventures and misadventures of an 18th century gambler and social climber (Ryan O’Neal). The visuals by cinematographer John Alcott (who won an Oscar for his work) were lit with a specially-adapted Zeiss camera lens originally developed for NASA and are still quite stunning to behold. One re-issue definitely worth catching on a cinema screen, especially as Warner Bros can’t be arsed to give it a decent DVD release. [BFI Southbank]

The Broken (The Works): A contemporary horror thriller written and directed by Sean Ellis and starring Lena Headey as woman who wakes up in the hospital following an encounter with a mysterious doppelgangerRichard Jenkins co-stars, but this is unlikely to make any serious waves at the UK box office. [Cert 15 / London & Key Cities]   

JCVD (Revolver Entertainment): An action film directed by Mabrouk El Mechri, and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as himself (!), a down-and-out action star whose family and career are crumbling around him as he’s caught in the middle of a post office heist in his hometown of Brussels, Belgium[A limited release at the Prince Charles Cinema in London]   

Luck By Chance (Adlabs Films): A Bollywood film directed by Zoya Akhtar that stars Konkona Sen Sharma and Farhan Akhtar with Rishi KapoorDimple KapadiaJuhi ChawlaHrithik RoshanIsha Sharvani and Sanjay Kapoor in the supporting cast. Supposedly a satire of the Bollywood film industry, it is about an actor named Vikram Jaisingh (Farhan Akhtar) who arrives in Bombay to make it big as a film star with the help of a TV star friend.  [Cert 12A]

Tokyo Sonata (Eureka Entertainment): A drama directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa about an everyday Japanese family that slowly disintegrates after its patriarch loses his job at a prominent company. [Cert 12A / ICA Cinema & Key Cities] 

UK Cinema Releases for January 2009
Get the latest showtimes for your local cinema via Google Movies
Check out our latest DVD picks (W/C Monday 26th January)